Make a fireplace mantel shelf

Written by penny porter Google
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Make a fireplace mantel shelf
Create a simple mantel shelf for your fireplace. (fire place with shelf and fire image by Kirubeshwaran from

A fireplace mantel shelf helps draw attention to your fireplace and provides a place for you to display small collections and pictures and to decorate for the holidays. Building a mantel shelf isn't difficult; you can create a beautiful and simple mantel shelf from only a single board. Construct your fireplace mantel shelf and have it hanging in place in only a few hours. Then you can start using the shelf to draw attention to your fireplace.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Stud finder
  • Pencil
  • 2-by-6-inch board, 8-feet long
  • Mitre saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Wood stain or paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Clear-coat polyurethane
  • Level
  • Chalk line
  • 4-inch wood screws
  • Power screwdriver

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  1. 1

    Measure the fireplace to determine the length you want to make the fireplace shelf. Ideally, extend the fireplace shelf at least 1-foot past both sides of the outside edges of the fireplace.

  2. 2

    Locate the wall studs using a stud finder and mark each wall stud by making light pencil marks on the wall. Use the location of wall studs to determine a length for the mantel shelf. Ensure that the length you choose for the mantel shelf extends past at least two wall studs to mount the shelf on.

  3. 3

    Measure the 2-by-6-inch board and use a pencil to mark the necessary length for the mantel shelf. Cut the board to size using a mitre saw. Adjust the angle on the mitre saw to mitre the edges of the board, or leave the edges plain.

  4. 4

    Sandpaper all flat surfaces and edges of the mantel shelf board. Sand to round the edges. Remove dust from sanding by wiping the board with a tack cloth.

  5. 5

    Paint or stain the mantel shelf board as desired, following the manufacturer's directions. Apply as many coats as necessary to fully cover the shelf. Allow drying time between each coat of paint or stain.

  6. 6

    Cut two triangles from the excess wood left from cutting the board down to size in Step 3. Cut the triangles with 90-degree angles and two sides that measure 6-inches long. Paint and stain these pieces to match the mantel shelf piece.

  7. 7

    Measure and mark a level line to mount the mantel shelf. Use a level to draw a line over the fireplace opening at the desired height of the mantel shelf. Stretch a chalk line over the pencil line, pull the string taut and pluck the string to create a longer lines across the wall over the fireplace.

  8. 8

    Set the two triangular pieces against the wall stud to attach to the wall. Set the pieces with the 90-degree angles facing upwards and one of the 6-inch sides against the wall. Align the pieces over the wall studs and use a power screwdriver to drive 4-inch wood screws through the triangular pieces and into the studs.

  9. 9

    Set the mantel shelf board over the two triangular mounting boards. Drive 4-inch wood screws up through the triangular pieces and into the bottom of the mantel shelf piece. Have an assistant help you hold the shelf down against the triangular pieces as you use the power screwdriver to ensure a tight fit so the shelf sits level against the wall.

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